For an exercise shake-up with noticeable benefits. Dive into the wondrous world of wild swimming.
What is wild swimming?
Don’t be deterred by the name. As ferociously unusual as this new exercise sensation may seem, ‘wild swimming’ isn’t really all that wild.
In the most common sense, it is outdoor swimming. Lakes, waterfalls and hidden coves; anything goes. As long as you’re brave enough to take the plunge.
Whether you’re a fitness-fanatic or a daring diver, wild swimming can work for anyone, whatever your sports level. It’s up to you how wild you choose to take it. Yet, one thing’s for certain: the unbelievable health benefits. You’d be wild not to try it.
How can it help you live longer?
Although, it can take time to prepare yourself for the chilled temperatures of swimming outdoors, knowing the good it’s doing for your body will make it easier.
Wild swimming can improve your mood, boost your immune system and help you get a better night’s sleep. What’s more, new research has found that this activity can even be an effective therapy for depression.
Why is it important to start now?
Initially, the cold water might feel like a shock to your system. But, the rush, the adrenaline, the freedom you’ll feel once you’re in the water will mean there’s no going back.
Unlike pilates or jogging, wild swimming doesn’t have to be about the demanding endurance. In fact, it’s more of a celebration. The blissful freshness of nature and strength. Bring your friends and family and witness the good that can come from letting go.
To see and value the benefits of wild swimming, it doesn’t have to take a lot. Even after a few sessions of 30 minutes a week can leave you feeling happier. Compared to running or walking, frequent swimming can add years to your life, by lowering your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease by 41%.
Where can you go wild swimming?
There are plenty of ways to make a splash in wild swimming. You can find a local lake that is safe for swimming or look to join a social swimming group.
Here are some of the best places near you to dive into your new adventure.
Hampstead Ponds, North London
Escape from the city to the idyllic Hampstead ponds. Hidden away behind the trees, you’ll find three ponds: a men’s only, women’s only and a mixed pond. It’s the perfect spot to forget you’re in London without having to travel far.
Costs: £2 adult day ticket or season passes are also available
River Trent, Derybshire
Along this stretch of great river there are caves and lagoons ready to be discovered. It takes swimming to new extraordinary levels. With safe and secluded areas, you can travel here with little one’s or use the caves to shelter from the unpredictable northern weather.
River Way, Surrey
Just a short train ride out of London, you’ll find this tranquil delight of tributary of the River Thames. Soak up the picturesque countryside view whilst you take on your wild swimming. There’s plenty of deep-water areas. Head to the spot marked with a buoy for the wild swimmer’s paradise.
Costs: Totally free
Kailpot Crag, Lake District
The lake District isn’t shy of any scenic swimming spots, but for one of the best, and most popular, you can’t miss Kailpot Crag. With plenty of deep-clear water to dip into, you can choose to take the plunge jumping in from the rocks or easing in from the beachside.
Lower Ddwli Falls, Brecon Beacons
Amongst the dreamy mountainous landscape of the Brecon Beacons lies indulgent waterfall plunge pools. With over 20 pools across 5 miles of the waters, you certainly won’t be bored. Perfectly located at the end of a forest path, you can start your day with a hike and ease into your swim to cool off.
Before you get started, it’s important to make sure you take the right safety precautions to not cause any harm to your body or others.
- Take your first dip in the summertime, as the water is inevitably warmer.
- Wear a wetsuit if the water is below 16 degrees Celsius
- Go for a check-in with your doctor to make sure you’re fit and healthy. It’s recommended to seek medical advice if you have any history of heart conditions, high blood pressure or asthma.
- Talk to a lifeguard or regulars at your local club about the best, and safest, way to approach cold water to prepare your body.
From the astonishing physical benefits to the good it does to your mind, wild swimming isn’t one to skip. So, are you ready to take the plunge? Discover more of why we should relish our time in nature by reading this blog post.